Day 27: How will you honour your creativity?
How did you make time for creativity in 2012? Looking back, is there one creative time or one particular creation that stands out for you? How will you continue (or start) making time and space for your creative passions in 2013?
I spent the beginning of 2012 luxuriating in paint. I enrolled in Flora Bowley’s Brave Intuitive You painting e-course and it totally changed the way I made art. I covered my study/studio floor with tarpaulin and made merry mess with my favourite music blaring in the background. The sweet birds above and below emerged and I fell in love.
Birds! Who knew?
But then the course finished and I found I had yet another string to my bow. I made collages. I made mosaics. I could make beaded earrings. I made encaustic art. I did the occasional bit of sewing. I took photographs every day, with four types of camera. I was already a writer and a blogger. I dabbled in haiku. I crocheted.
Each time I had a moment to myself, the truth was, I hardly knew where to begin I knew I had so many things to finish but I also knew there were so many things I wanted to get going.
And, of course, I was the temptation to cover other people’s journeys became all too powerful. She makes all this great art, so effortlessly, and franchises it into a multi-million dollar business. She runs ecourses on how to make stuff like this. She wrote a book. She goes on speaking tours. She runs retreats. What the fark am I doing?!
Unsurprisingly, I fell into a creative malaise that was so hard to shake, I wondered if I ever would.
One of the most amazing gifts I gave to myself during this time was signing up a creative coach. In the space of one conversation with Fiona, I had a greater sense of what I wanted to focus on and how I could realistically achieve it.
Regardless of the amount of time I have, I’m beginning to realise that it’s this focus that is the difference between creative progress and crippling stasis. This year, it’s my job to get out of my own way and just do it. Write, that is. The thing that I was put on this earth to do.
And play with paint and ephemera and gel medium and photos and whatever else when I need a change of gear. And trust that the opportunity to combine art with writing into one dream project is slowly but steadily making its way towards me.
But the work: that comes first.
Day 28: How will you overcome *those* fears?
Think of three things that daunted you in 2012: how are you going to work towards overcoming them in 2013?
1. My writing was once described by a [cough!] well-meaning editor as “half-baked and amateurish”. Who am I to think I can write a novel?
I’m steadily building a tribe of people who get me and enjoy my writing and understand what I am trying to do. I have also cultivated good relationships with people who are in a good position to give me honest and constructive feedback in a way that feels honouring including my therapist, creative coach and (hopefully future) publisher.
But most importantly, I have been working hard on authorising my self. My writing may be stronger than many and weaker than some. My contribution is no less valid than anyone else’s and my efforts just as deserving of recognition. But really, such comparisons are not even relevant.
Whatever happens – and whether I am published or not – I am giving myself permission to call myself a writer. A bloody good one!
Anyone who doesn't think so is respectfully entitled to their opinion. Doesn't mean I am going to listen.
2. Taking time to focus on things that are important to me make me a bad wife and mother, particularly when they divert my attention or take me out of the home.
This is a tricky one. Because the truth is, there are so many layers to this issue. There is the societal conditioning and the reality of gender imbalance when it comes to parenting and supporting a household financially. There is also my upbringing, not only what my parents said and did but also what I was required to conform to at school, at ballet school, and in key relationships. There’s all that stuff that I absorbed about whose work is the most important and where the household’s priorities and gratitudes should be directed. And then there’s all my own stuff, especially my wavering confidence in my parenting and my creative abilities.
The truth is (and this is so hard to say), there have been occasions when my husband has not appeared overly supportive of me pursuing creative endeavours, particularly when they have potentially taken me out of the home. And herein lies the rub. He hasn’t “appeared” supportive. And I am learning a lot about how appearances can be deceptive, especially when they trigger my stuff... which then blinds me to the things that actually are germane to the issue.
I am wading through this unnecessarily sticky issue with a great deal of courage. I am also trying to practice compassion, towards him and towards myself. I am asking questions and giving time for the answers to come.
And I am gently germinating a backbone in the process.
3. Setting boundaries with my daughter pushes so many buttons that I tend to collapse then resent the both of us.
The single most important thing I did at the end of last year, when I was in the thick of three-year-old boundary-pushing behaviour, was to ask for help. And then, step back and receive it.
My husband really shone in this arena last year. He left for work later than usual and he came home early. He navigated the tricky morning tantrums and managed the rules of engagement during mealtimes. He was calm and consistent and unfailingly fair and respectful. I learnt so much from witnessing him in action, as did our daughter.
His past attempts to help were often derailed by my anxieties. But we had arrived at a point where I could no longer defend the indefensible.
It was a tremendous thing: to let go, to acknowledge that my fears were not serving any of us, then allow someone to lead me forward gently.
Day 29: Have you heard your word?
What word did you select to be your travelling companion in 2012? What gifts did this word bring?
What word will you choose to guide you through 2013? What do you hope it will bring into your life?
In 2012, the word savour and I chose each other as travelling companions. It was the perfect word for me and brought me so many gifts, and so gently (which was appreciated after the year that preceded!).
Savour gave me:
* a clear vision of what I really want for my family
* affirmation, time and time again, that hugs heal so many things
* a weekly gratitude practice, and a new lens to view the minutiae in my daily life with love
* a brilliant creative coach, who helped me align my heart's true desires with my life (and vice versa)
* art and music, in so many forms
* a deeply renewed relationship with my sweet sister
* an invitation to slow down and to really heal
* the truth about my relationship to food and a new understanding about the true nature of hunger
* the gifts of the tarot (I just keep falling further and further in love)
* the power of guided meditation
* the story that preceded me and made me who I am
* the tantalising taste of twitter!
* the exhilarating rollercoaster that was Blogtoberfest12 and #reverb12
* daily reality checks from the "messy middle" of my life
* an incredible tribe of true kindreds from all over the world
* clear channels into my life as a writer
For 2013, the word ease and I have chosen each other. This was partly inspired by a mantra I discovered during a tarot reading, partly by a certain quality I noticed while travelling, and very much by this image. That girl, the simplicity of her pleasures, her smile... that is what I want my year to look like.
Day 30: What can you celebrate NOW?
For a moment, take a close look at who you are NOW. See what you can declare. Merge the past, present, and future into one big ARRIVAL. Describe joyously and in great celebration the BEING that you ARE.
I have so much to be grateful for. Love in abundance. My health and that of my family. Financial and material security. Education and incredible opportunities. Travels and exposure to things of beauty. A persistent desire to learn more, do more, be more. Hopes and dreams and unique talents. Stories.
I recently read a sweet little manifesto that included the exhortation to Get perspective: Look up. I love the way this prompt has enabled me to do this. A wonderful practice to take into the new year.
Day 31: Love to you, wherever you are NOW!
2013 is going to be MY YEAR because... it's the year that all other years have been leading to. It's the year that I fully step into my life as a writer and boldly inhabit my skin.
In 2013, I am going to... go where the peace is (even if that means a nap!).
In 2013, I am going to feel... clear headed and light hearted.
In 2013, I am not going to... dwell on what has happened in the past. I have excavated, sifted, sorted the wheat from the chaff, and I have learnt. It's time to move on.
In December 2013, I am going to look back and say... I did it! I am here!